Earlier this week the UFC announced the good news that all the fighters currently under Zuffa contract will now be insured for not only injuries sustained while competing in the Octagon, but also for those sustained outside of the cage too.
The move was greeted with widespread approval and enthusiasm, from fighters, to fans and the media, but one man who bucks the trend is NYC Assemblyman and long-time thorn in the UFC’s side, Bob Reilly.
Reilly has long been a vocal detractor of mixed martial arts and has staged virtually a one man campaign to ensure that the sport is not legalized in NYC despite the fact that virtually every other state in the U.S has now approved it.
Upon hearing the news of the new insurance policy for fighters which comes into effect on June 1st, Reilly predictably refused to budge even an inch from his original stance.
“What immediately came to my mind was, What’s the need for insurance? Because advocates for MMA have been touting how safe this sport is and that no one is ever injured, and in fact, the testimony here is that the worst that ever happened was a broken arm. But I don’t think that insurance is going to do anything for the very prevalent brain damage that fighters will suffer,” Reilly moaned to MMAfighting.com.
Surely Reilly could see that this was a good thing for the fighters though? Despite claiming to be concerned about their welfare, it seemed that he wasn’t even willing to crack a smile at the development.
“It’s certainly not a bad thing that they provide this insurance, but it really does little or nothing to solve the problem of what will happen to fighters financially, of the physical damage done to fighters or the fact that this violent sport begets violence in our society. So it does nothing to address the systemic problems of MMA,” he grumbled.
The reality is that Reilly has nailed his colors so firmly to his mast, taking an almost obsessive interest in keeping MMA out of NYC, that he’s never going to have anything good to say about the sport regardless of what the UFC, or any other promotion for that matter, does.
The hope though is that beyond Reilly’s narrow-minded, antiquated views on MMA, others will be more open-minded as they observe Zuffa’s continued desire to make the sport better both inside and outside of the Octagon, and that one day that will lead to the sport being legalized in New York City.